Davine Productions
The Parks Theatre
Until 02 Mar 2019

Review by Kylie Pedler

Presented at the 2019 Adelaide Fringe Festival

The verdict is in. Davine Productions have done it again!

Hats off to company founder David Gauci, who has brought this outrageously funny small theatre musical to South Australian audiences in an Australian Premiere. While the show begins with an announcement asking audience members to ‘go with the flow’ (for a small reward) one may not expect to be so highly involved (commanded out of their seats, hauled up on stage). But it doesn’t take long to realise that this is where some of the most entertaining moments are found. And in a clever ploy for free advertising, celebrity snaps with Judge Jackie herself are just the beginning.

We soon learn that TV ratings for Judge Jackie Justice are falling, so in steps Shane, the TV executive; a cleverly crafted, over-the-top showman who threatens cancellation of the show unless Jackie agrees to build up the antics, celebrity cases and find a kinder stance on love. As Jackie is pressured to reinvent her show the lines begin to crack. There’s a popstar, an eighties ‘life be in it’ family, wannabe gangsters, furry animals and redneck survivalists. To further explain the absurd stories of the plaintiffs and defendants, audience members are called upon to help re-enact memories and fantasies. Catchy tunes, clever lyrics that move the story along, and characters of versatility are around every corner. And throughout there is a strong theme that explores the often insane characteristics of love and relationships.

In true ensemble spirit, five actors play multiple characters. While working together beautifully, each cast member has their moment to shine. Adam Goodburn is strong as the loyal, but insecure and love- sick bailiff, Henry. On opening night, his initial scene suffered from some muffled dialogue but this was quickly corrected. Paul Rodda’s energy as the amazing reality TV executive, Shane, is incredible. He holds the audience in the palm of his hand each time he enters and demonstrates some fabulous vaudeville moves. Judge Jackie (Katie Packer) rules her court room with not quite the stern iron fist of her reality TV namesake, but has some great moments singing up a storm. But highest accolades must go to Casmira Hambledon and Joshua Angeles as they constantly transform into an array of different plaintiffs and defendants. Accents and complete persona changes are smooth and well-maintained. Their chemistry is splendid. Hambledon shines as Luanne and Angeles has some great moments as Mama, Henry’s mother.

Well-staged in the intimate Parks theatre, the courtroom set is the perfect playground for the bizarre and trivial lawsuits. From the slick dancing security guards, to the hip thrusting Jorge de Amor tango, the 90s music video to the final breakdance, Kerry-Lynn Hauber’s choreography is precise and as versatile as the musical numbers. The score features power ballads, rap, vaudeville, 90s teen pop and country inspired love anthems, all fine-tuned under the direction of Martin Cheney. But audiences will leave humming the theme song to Judge Jackie Justice.

Court adjourns on March 2nd so get your tickets and support quality local theatre.

Rating: 4.5 stars (out of 5)